On the Children

Though it is true that HIV can cause great harm to the individual affected, the events that follow can cause impairment in the lives of family members regardless of their own HIV status. The typical role of an adult in a family is to be an independent, productive person that that can care for themselves, children, and aging parents. In developing countries, many families are already impoverished and deprived of many public services and resources that are provided in developed areas: healthcare, education, and social assistance programs. The onset of HIV only worsens the already dire situation. In many cases, the need for food and shelter is so great that it overshadows the need for HIV medication. As AIDS develop, parents may be forced to shift their role as caretaker to their children. This dynamic structural change is often accompanied by a serious loss of economic stability. Many of these children are forced to ignore their health and suffer from malnutrition as they save their money to pay for their parents’ medical bills. A survey in China reports over 31% of children not eating any fruit in the previous month and 14% had no protein in their diet during the last month (Ji, 2007). Many are unable to attend school, and those that can usually have difficulty performing. They are forced to prioritize the health of their parents and housework over their studies.

Alternatively, caregivers can invest in medication, but be left with little to no money which may cause families to take out loans or find some other source to acquire the funds needed to fulfill medical costs and in the process, debt is being accumulated. Because of the additional costs that are associated with living with someone with HIV, families have to spend less on living expenses. The results compared to the previous situation are similar: household members are malnourished, put at a higher risk of illness, and pushed towards poverty (What is the impact, 2005).

Back   Next